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Flickers of the fall 

It was a long time coming, but summer is over. I'm sad to see it go, but I can't help but be excited for fall: changing leaves, crisp air, pumpkin-flavored everything, and some the very best movies the year has to offer. For cinematic omnivores like me – who enjoy a little bit of everything – there's much to look forward to in the coming months. So much, in fact, that I honestly had a hard time narrowing this list down; I could easily have cobbled together an entire second list from the films I had to leave off this one.

Release dates can be fickle, so be sure to double check current listings before running off to your local movie theater.

"Black Mass": Notorious Boston mob boss-FBI informant Whitey Bulger gets the star-studded, Oscar-friendly screen treatment in director Scott Cooper's gritty crime drama. Supported by the likes of Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, and Corey Stoll, Johnny Depp looks like he'll be stepping up his acting game instead of relying on makeup and a fancy hat to build a character (though those things are definitely still present). Who knew the creepiest thing Depp could ever do was put on a pair of blue contacts? (9/18)

"The Walk": There's already been one great film made about the true story of French street performer Philippe Petit's daring 1974 walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center (that'd be 2008's Oscar-winning doc, "Man on Wire"), but with a heavily emphasized IMAX 3D release, director Robert Zemeckis is clearly going for spectacle above all else. (9/30)

"The Martian": Matt Damon is an astronaut left behind on Mars when the rest of his crew mistakenly believe he's died after a NASA mission goes wrong. Ridley Scott directs, and Drew Goddard ("Cabin in the Woods") adapts from the popular novel by Andy Weir. And check out the rest of the cast: Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, and Donald Glover. Yeah, this is gonna be big. (10/2)

"Legend": Tom Hardy pulls double duty as real-life identical twin-gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray, who ruled over 1960's London with their flashy style and sociopathic tendencies. I'm a huge fan of Hardy, and this movie gives me not one, but two Tom Hardys. I'm there. (10/2)

"Steve Jobs": Two years ago, the biopic, "Jobs," gave us Ashton Kutcher as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and the less said about the results, the better. Now director Danny Boyle and writer Aaron Sorkin (adapting Walter Isaacson's book) attempt to right that film's wrongs, with Michael Fassbender starring as the polarizing tech guru. (10/9)

"Crimson Peak": From visionary director Guillermo del Toro comes this old-fashioned gothic horror story, starring Mia Wasikowska as a young writer who's whisked off her feet and into a spooky old mansion after she falls for and marries a handsome and mysterious aristocrat (Tom Hiddleston). Jessica Chastain has a juicy role as the husband's calculating sister, and the lavish-looking visuals promise a film as drop-dead gorgeous as it is scary. (10/16)

"Bridge of Spies": Tom Hanks stars in a Cold War thriller written by the Coen brothers and directed by Steven Spielberg. Do I really need to say anything more? (10/16)

"Love": Argentinian director Gaspar Noé isn't one for subtlety; his films "Enter the Void" and "Irreversible" were notoriously graphic. Now he brings audiences his idea of a love story, following the sexual misadventures of a young couple and featuring scenes of hardcore sex. Did I mention the entire thing is in 3D? Yeah, this should be interesting. (11/6)

"The Peanuts Movie": Translating Charles Schultz's beloved comic strip characters into slick 3D computer animation is enough to make one say "good grief!" but it seems as though the filmmakers have gone to great lengths to keep the strip's heartfelt tone intact. Even the animation style appears to preserve as much of the original strip's hand-drawn charm as possible. I'm skeptical, but curious. (11/6)

"Room": A young woman (the fantastic Brie Larson) puts on a brave face for the young son she's raising, as they live as captives in a windowless 10-by-10 shed. Based on the best-selling novel by Emma Donoghue (who also wrote the screenplay), hopefully this will be the film that makes Larson a star. (11/6)

"Brooklyn": Saoirse Ronan plays a young woman who emigrates from Ireland to America in the 1950's and finds herself torn between her new life and the one she left behind. Director John Crowley and writer Nick Hornby adapt from the novel by Colm Tóibín, and the buzz suggests Oscars may be in the film's future. (11/9)

"Carol": Rooney Mara already took home the Best Actress award at this year's Cannes Film Festival for her role as a department-store clerk who enters into a clandestine romance with an older, married woman (Cate Blanchett) in director Todd Haynes' lush melodrama. Reviews out of France were rapturous, with many suggesting that both actresses will be frontrunners come award season. (11/20)

"Spotlight": Dramatizing the Boston Globe's Pulitzer-winning 2002 exposé on child abuse in the Catholic Church, this muckraking drama stars Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci, and Billy Crudup. Hopefully, director Tom McCarthy ("Win Win," "The Station Agent") is back on track after his disastrous collaboration with Adam Sandler in "The Cobbler." (11/20)

"The Night Before": Jonathan Levine directs this holiday-themed comedy about three best pals (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie) who plan a last hurrah when they realize their encroaching adult responsibilities (namely Rogen's impending baby and Mackie's pro football career) mean that their annual tradition of spending Christmas together may be coming to an end. Since it's based on Levine's cancer-comedy "50/50," he'll be able to deliver hilarity as well as heart. (11/25)

"Creed": A new chapter in the Rocky franchise is opened with this spin-off centering around Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), son of the legendary Apollo Creed. Hoping to follow in his father's footsteps, the pugilist enlists Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) to whip him into shape. Jordan has been poised to break out for years (clearly "Fantastic Four" didn't cut it), and reteaming with his "Fruitvale Station" director Ryan Coogler could be the recipe for something special. (11/25)

"Krampus": For those who don't know, Krampus is the Germanic folk figure who handles all the naughty children Santa doesn't have time for. His duties include generally tormenting them, beating them with sticks, and in special cases, tossing them into his sack to be dragged straight to hell. Michael Dougherty, director of the instant-classic Halloween anthology film "Trick 'r Treat," offers his take on the Yule beast in this horror-comedy starring Adam Scott and Toni Collette. (12/4)

"Son of Saul": Winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes, this Hungarian holocaust drama follows a concentration camp prisoner who's forced to work clearing corpses from the gas chambers, and one day finds a body he believes to be his son. Though it doesn't exactly sound like light viewing, by all accounts newcomer director László Nemes has made a stunning debut. (12/18)

"Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens": I have no idea what this is. (12/18)

"The Revenant": Director Alejandro González Iñárritu follows up his "Birdman" Oscar wins with this epic adventure based on Michael Punke's book about a real-life fur trapper who was mauled by a bear, then robbed and left for dead by his partners. Leonardo Dicaprio portrays the hunter as he fights his way back across the wilderness seeking vengeance. The film had an exceedingly troubled-plagued shoot, but dare I say, the results look like they may have been worth it. (12/25)

"The Hateful Eight": A motley crew of despicable gunslingers, bounty hunters, and outlaws all take shelter from a blizzard and learn that someone in their midst isn't entirely who they say they are. Working with an ensemble that includes Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bruce Dern, Quentin Tarantino is back in "Django Unchained" mode for more brutal western action. Adding to the majesty of it all, select markets will get a release of the movie on glorious 70mm film. (12/25)

"The Lobster": The latest film from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos ("Dogtooth") imagines a dystopian future in which single people are forced to find a mate within 45 days or face being transformed into animals and sent to live in the woods. With a cast that includes Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, and John C. Reilly, this sounds bananas. (Release date not set.)

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